PROVIDENCE, RIU.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) has been awarded a landmark $65 million federal grant to overhaul Route 146.  The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant, also known as an INFRA Grant, will fund the replacement of multiple bridges along the Route 146 corridor, the reconfiguration of the interchange at Sayles Hill Road, and the repaving of miles of roadway, among other improvements to increase safety and reduce congestion on the main regional artery.

“I helped create the INFRA program with major, once-in-a-generation projects like this one in mind,” said Senator Whitehouse, who authored the INFRA Program in 2015 to help meet Rhode Island’s need for large-scale infrastructure investments.  “Route 146, with all of its bumps and quirks, is the main thoroughfare for Rhode Islanders who live in the northern part of the state.  I’m thrilled that we have the funds in hand to create good jobs upgrading Route 146 with new bridges, a modern design, and miles of fresh pavement.  I thank Secretary Chao for recognizing the importance of this project to the future of Rhode Island’s economy.”

“I advocated directly to Secretary Chao for this competitive grant because Route 146 is one of the most problematic stretches of road in the state.  After decades of patches, it is in dire need of repair.  This federal grant provides an opportunity not just to fix this heavily-used roadway, but to modernize it to improve safety, better integrate public transportation and technology, preserve local businesses, and reduce congestion.  I am pleased these federal funds will address safety at the Sayles Hill Road intersection, which averages over 100 accidents a year,” said Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD).

“Route 146 is a vital roadway for our state, and the millions in federal funds awarded to RIDOT will help improve the safety and flow of traffic in this corridor for the residents, commuters and businesses who rely on it,” said Congressman Langevin.  “By making these investments in infrastructure, we’re addressing Rhode Island’s urgent needs and creating important employment opportunities during this trying time.  I’ll continue to work with my Rhode Island Congressional colleagues to bring additional resources to our great state.”

“Rebuilding Rhode Island’s infrastructure is one of the most effective ways we have to create good-paying jobs and grow our economy,” said Congressman Cicilline, who directly advocated for this grant with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.  “This project will fix a critical interchange that serves Providence, Lincoln, and North Smithfield.  It is critical that the federal government do even more to invest in these kinds of local projects, and I will continue working to make sure that happens.”

More than 171,000 vehicles travel Route 146 between Providence and Worcester, Massachusetts daily.  The road is plagued by deteriorating pavement conditions, structurally deficient bridges, and an obsolete design that compromises safety.

RIDOT’s grant application calls for the reconfiguration of the interchange at Sayles Hill Road, eliminating a weave at the intersection with Route 99, and replacing a U-turn ramp with a diverging diamond interchange.  The application also calls for three bridges to be replaced or repaired.  Plans for the project include repaving approximately eight miles of Route 146 between I-295 and the Massachusetts state line.  Funding may also be used to install a bus-on-shoulder lane along the southern limits of Route 146 into Providence, new drainage features, modern median barriers to replace old guardrails, and broadband improvements.

First authorized in 2015 as the FASTLANE grant program, the INFRA discretionary grant program provides funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for large-scale urban highway and multimodal projects that might otherwise stall without additional federal support.  Since 2016, over $4 billion in INFRA and FASTLANE grants have been awarded, including a $60.3 million grant awarded last year to rebuild the Northbound Providence Viaduct.